Lahiru Thirimanne was the centre of a controversial attempted run-out when he was backing-up outside his ground against India – but what do the Laws of Cricket say?
Sri Lanka’s Thirimanne was warned by India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin after backing up well out of his crease before the bowler had delivered.
Ashwin then removed the bails, but after he had entered his delivery stride, from a subsequent delivery and appealed to Umpire Paul Reiffel.
Reiffel consulted his fellow Umpire, and after asking India captain Virender Sehwag if he wanted to go ahead with the appeal, India allowed Thirimanne to resume his innings.
Law 42 - 15, Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before deliver, states that: “The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker.
“Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over.
“If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon possible.”
The ICC introduced a Playing Condition for international cricket in October 2011, aimed at keeping the non-striker in their crease for a longer period of time, which stated:
“The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker.”
So, under the Laws of Cricket, it was too late to attempt the run out but under the ICC’s new regulation, it was still allowed as the bowler had not completed his delivery swing.
Spirit of Cricket?
Some of the post-match discussion on the incident centered on the warning Ashwin gave to Thirimanne, with Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene suggesting that any warning should have been officially transmitted through the Umpires.
However, there is nothing, and has never been anything, in the Laws of Cricket which says a warning is required before running out the non-striker.
This has though become an unwritten convention in cricket over a number of years.
A tendency has also developed within the game to interpret the action of any bowler who attempts such a run-out as acting against the Spirit of Cricket – as was alluded to by Jayawardene.
The bowler though is acting within the Laws of Cricket if the non-striker has left his ground before the delivery stride is entered (or before the completion of the delivery swing in international cricket), while the batsman - often identified as the victim – is in reality, breaking the Laws.
Note: this article was updated to correct an inaccuracy on 23 February 2012. It was originally published on 22 February.